Today in history: Champions League final: Hearts shock Esperance in Tunis


On 2nd December, 2000, Hearts of Oak withstood a furious first-half onslaught and a sending off 25 minutes from time for a 2-1 away win over Esperance of Tunisia in the first leg of the African Champions League final.

Hearts’ goalkeeper Sammy Adjei made a sequence of brilliant saves to keep the half-time deficit down to just one goal and the Ghanaians then turned the game on its head with two breakaway goals to silence the vocal home support.

Hearts won the second leg in Accra by three goals to one in Accra a fortnight after the first leg to emerge chamlpions of Africa.

Esperance ran rampant in the first half with Ali Zitouni missing a succession of gilt-edged chances and Adjei made several superb stops.

But it was only a matter of time before the hosts found the net with Zitouni slamming home from close range after Hassen Gabsi had laid the ball back into his path. But Hearts brought a sudden stop to the attack just seven minutes after the interval when 18-year-old Ismael Addo sprinted away to equalise.

Mauritian referee Lim Kee Chong red carded Hearts defender Yaw Amankwah Mireku in the 65th minute for retaliation after he had been initially elbowed in the face.

However, Esperance failed to take advantage of the extra man and were caught 11 minutes from time when substitute Emmanuel Adjogu set up the winner for Emmanuel Osei Kuffour.

Hearts of Oak: 1-Sammy Adjei; 6-Yaw Amankwah Mireku, 5-Jacob Nettey, 15-Agyeman Duah; 17-Stephen Tetteh, 14-Joe Ansah, 12-Charles Allotey (2-Daniel Ziem Quaye 76), 9-Adjah Tetteh, 3-Emmanuel Osei Kuffour,18-Ishmael Addo (10-Emmanuel Adjogu 59), 8-Charles Taylor (4-Edmund Copson 71)

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